A Lesson in CX from the Grateful Dead: Put Your Customers in the Front Row


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The Dead are pioneers in putting the ‘customer first’

I had the opportunity to watch a webinar with Hubspot’s CEO Brian Halligan (@bhalligan) and the noted author / speaker / raver David Meerman Scott (@dmscott).

Here’s a teaser from the duo talking about the webinar:

One of the lessons Brian and David discussed was the practice of the band of putting the customer first by literally putting them in the front row. This example buries ‘The Dead’ into the Purple Goldfish Project at #310:

“David spoke of how the band maintained a separate ticket service for their fans. Fans could mail in a check and request for tickets. The band would reserve the front x number of rows for their fans. Brian waxed poetic on how he would go to great lengths to design his envelope . . . hoping it would give him an added edge for getting good seats.”

Here is an article from Joshua Green at The Atlantic profiling the practice:

“ODDLY ENOUGH, THE Dead’s influence on the business world may turn out to be a significant part of its legacy. Without intending to—while intending, in fact, to do just the opposite—the band pioneered ideas and practices that were subsequently embraced by corporate America. One was to focus intensely on its most loyal fans. It established a telephone hotline to alert them to its touring schedule ahead of any public announcement, reserved for them some of the best seats in the house, and capped the price of tickets, which the band distributed through its own mail-order house. If you lived in New York and wanted to see a show in Seattle, you didn’t have to travel there to get tickets—and you could get really good tickets, without even camping out. “The Dead were masters of creating and delivering superior customer value,” Barry Barnes, a business professor at the H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship at Nova Southeastern University, in Florida, told me.”

CX Marketing Takeaway – Focus on your customers (not prospects) by providing extra benefits. Your loyal customers should feel like they get front row treatment and access.

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra) – Tremendous YouTube piece on ‘Truckin’. If you don’t have 5 minutes, fast forward to 3:05 where Jerry Garcia talks about community and creating value. Brilliant.

HELP me catch another 691 purple goldfish for a great cause. FISHERMEN WANTED: Click here to send me your example

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Stan Phelps
Stan Phelps is the Chief Measurement Officer at 9 INCH marketing. 9 INCH helps organizations develop custom solutions around both customer and employee experience. Stan believes the 'longest and hardest nine inches' in marketing is the distance between the brain and the heart of your customer. He is the author of Purple Goldfish, Green Goldfish and Golden Goldfish.


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